Access to Work is a scheme run by Jobcentre Plus. The scheme provides practical support and advice to disabled people and employers to help overcome work related obstacles resulting from a disability.
Access to Work pays towards any extra employment costs that result from a disability. If one of your employees or new starters has a disability then Access to Work may be able to help. It applies to any paid job, part-time or full-time, permanent or temporary. There is no minimum number of hours for eligibility for support under the scheme.
It is provided where an individual requires support or adaptations beyond the reasonable adjustments which an employer is legally obliged to provide under the Equality Act.
Access to Work can help you:
Access to Work can support you in a number of ways. For example it can provide funds towards:
Access to Work does not provide the support itself, but provides a grant to reimburse the cost of the support that is needed.
It depends on the size of your business. Small businesses generally do not have to pay anything. Access to work will normally meet 100 per cent of the costs of any adaptations, equipment or training for small businesses (less than 50 employees).
Medium-sized enterprises may have to meet a small proportion of the cost - for existing employees only. You will only have to share the cost for:
Access to Work normally covers 100 per cent of the cost of travel and support workers.
In all cases though, Access to Work normally pay grants of up to 100 per cent for any new employee (that is, someone who has been working for less than six weeks when they first apply for Access to Work).
Depending on the size of your business, Access to Work will refund up to 80 per cent of the approved costs above a threshold determined by the number of your employees:
You will also be expected to meet the costs up to the threshold. AtW currently cover all additional costs over £10,000 but from 1st October 2015 Access to Work grants will be capped at £40, 800 per year:
The application is made by the employee, but you can of course help facilitate this process. The employee should contact the Operational Support Unit directly. Contact details can be found on the GOV.UK website.
The sooner Access to Work knows about the request for support, the more time they have to ensure everything is in place when the employee starts. The Access to Work Advisor will need some detailed information, and it will help if you make sure the employee making the application has the following information to hand:
You can purchase the equipment as soon as permission has been granted, applying for reimbursement of the Access to Work's agreed contribution with supplied documentation.
The costs of installation and training will have been outlined in the assessment report, and you can apply for reimbursement of any agreed Access to Work's contribution to these through supplied documentation.
We have produced a factsheet for employers on the Access to Work Scheme: